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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:28 PM
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Justice Breyer Decries Minimum Sentences
Justice Breyer Decries Minimum Sentences

BOSTON - Mandatory minimum sentences are unfair and take away flexibility needed in the judicial process, said Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

"There has to be oil in the gears. ... There has to be room for the unusual or the exceptional case," he told about 550 people Sunday at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Breyer said Congress had passed a number of mandatory minimum statutes where "there is no room for flexibility on the downside."

"That is not a helpful thing to do," he said. "It's not going to advance the cause of law enforcement in my opinion and it's going to set back the cause of fairness in sentencing."
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bspence Donating Member (406 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:19 PM
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1. Hallejuah
Minimum sentencing sucks.

I doubt the total reliability of breathalyzers. They can measure the alcohol content on your breath, not in your bloodstream. It's not accurate. If you burp, or you have a dry mouth coated in alcohol (even though your BAC is below the legal limit), it can change the results of the test.

Yet you are automatically sentenced with a DUI in Virginia and other states if you blow over the legal limit. They don't have to allow you to get a blood test if you get stopped in VA. It doesn't matter about any of the other circumstances, like the fact that you were driving perfectly fine, or that you just sitting in your car, you're guilty.

And DUIs get minimum sentences that are very, very harsh.

Don't get me wrong, drinking and driving is a stupid thing to do. But taking away a judge's right to JUDGE a case on its merits and determine a fitting punishment for that specific case is un-american.
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Ratty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:20 PM
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2. And then there's this little gem ...
Ashcroft Reducing Plea Bargain Discretion

"Federal prosecutors were ordered Monday by Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) to pursue maximum criminal charges and sentences whenever possible"

"Ashcroft said his intent is to bring greater consistency to criminal prosecutions around the country."
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